He didn't even have the balls to say it to my face.
Why do people break up with you in an email? Why do they say they didn't have time to call and yet they have the time to craft an email which probably took at least twenty minutes (editing and thought prep included), when they could've made a phone call in half the time?
Sometimes it's easier to be clear and bitingly eloquent in the written word, behind the mask of a computer screen. They need not endure the quiver in your voice or the pain on your face in our wonderful world of advanced communication.
If I really love someone, if I really care, and I need to communicate some unpleasant news, I would make time to call or set up a date regardless of how busy I am.
He said, "I don't want to break your heart" and "I don't want to hurt you."
Beware of people who say these things. They will do exactly the opposite.
The lines are ridiculous anyway, especially if you're feeling more than the other person. It is redundant to say, "I don't want to hurt you." It is already understood. (Unless the speaker is a sadist.) Inevitably, they will hurt you when you open your heart to them. But to actually say "I don't want to hurt you" is a cruel set-up spoiling the illusion of the moment.
Those lines and other signs pointed to the end. After "I don't want to hurt you" it was a question regarding another woman during one late-night conversation about polyamory vs. monogamy. He met her a week after me. They never had sex. They were just friends, he thought, until he began to feel more than friendly toward her. He said, "What if my feelings for her are stronger and I only want to be with her?"
"Choosing both would be ideal" was my detached reply.
Then came the sexual withdrawal with the intention to clarify his feelings and get to know me better. Then the changed tone in his emails--from romantic and flirtatious to pragmatic and distant.
I saw it coming just as I saw the death of my column. I thought about gracefully bowing out before it came to this. But no--I had to let it unravel outside the box and live in the possibility that his abstinence experiment would somehow bridge the gap between us. I had to give him the power.
But he buckled under the weight of it.
I will not be his friend.
And one day I shall laugh about the guy with the funny name.